Columbus Public Health tweeted Friday an update to the Cryptosporidium outbreak in Central Ohio, which shows a slight increase in the past week (29 cases) bringing the total to 966.

Columbus Public Health spokesman Jose Rodriguez says fewer cases are being diagnosed on a daily basis. “At one point we were seeing 10, 20 a day,” Rodriguez said. “Now we’re down to a few a day”, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

columbusThe outbreak, declared in August, is the largest of it’s kind in Ohio. The breakdown of cases by Central Ohio county is as follows: Columbus (573), Franklin (275) and Delaware (108).

For the year through Oct. 22, Ohio has seen 1,652 cumulative cases, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While some people with Crypto will have no symptoms, the most common symptom is watery diarrhea that generally begins one week (ranging from 2-10 days) after infection. Other symptoms include stomach cramps, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss. Persons with healthy immune systems usually recover in one to two weeks without treatment, while individuals with weakened immune systems can have more prolonged or severe symptoms.

Crypto is typically spread in swimming pools or other recreational water when an infected person swims or plays in the water, contaminating the water with fecal matter. Although chlorine kills most germs in swimming pools, Crypto can even survive in properly chlorinated water for long periods of time. Outbreaks have also been associated with petting zoos that include contaminated livestock.

Image/Columbus Public Health
Image/Columbus Public Health

Crypto can be highly contagious. Public health strongly recommends that infected individuals follow these guidelines to avoid spreading the disease to others:

  • Do not swim or play in recreational water (pools, hot tubs, splash pads, lakes, rivers, etc.) if you have diarrhea and for at least 2 weeks after the diarrhea stops.
  • Wash hands with soap and water thoroughly before preparing food and after toileting or diapering. Alcohol based hand sanitizer is not effective against Crypto.
  • Avoid food preparation while symptoms last.
  • Children with diarrhea should be excluded from child care settings until the diarrhea has stopped.